Oh, Mittens. When you head to Iowa to investigate the plight of the drought-stricken farmer, you might want to think twice about glad-handing with a millionaire real-estate mogul who owns 54 corn and soybean farms and lives in a spaceship house.
Despite LeMar Koethe's desperate plea to the candidate -- "We need you like we need oxygen" -- he's clearly feeling no pain.
Devastated agricultural sector, 1. Well-heeled Republican robot, 0.
The birthers are back with a ridiculous new ad that uses every right-wing conspiracy theory out there to demand President Obama be disqualified from the Democratic ballot.
The ad, "Shady Past," is funded by a shady PAC called the Conservative Majority Fund -- a quick Google search reveals next to nothing about the group.
Mitt Romney's campaign is working hard to increase the candidate's Twitter presence, but on any given day, the most heavily retweeted mentions of @MittRomney come not from the candidate, but from comedian Rob Delaney.
Delaney claims no political affilliation, but his frequent abuse of Romney is nonetheless revealing:
Romney fascinates me endlessly. He's such an attractive target comedically because more than any other candidate in my lifetime, he just wants to be president. That's it! He longs for it. Feels it's his birthright. I can imagine him getting elected and just saying, "Well, that's that then!" and staring out a window. To the extent I can wield Twitter influence, I prefer to function like a much cleaner, more honest super PAC.
From the Boston Globe:
Launched Wednesday by the Courage Campaign Super PAC and American Bridge 21st Century, [the campaign] is a compilation of video testimonies from people who describe Romney as insensitive and willing to put his political ambitions ahead of equality. The campaign's website also features video of Romney discussing LGBT rights as far back as 1994, when he ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate. If elected president, the Super PACs suggest, Romney would roll back protections for LGBT citizens -- perhaps pushing for a federal ban on gay marriage, which he supports; defending the Defense of Marriage Act in court, which the Justice Department has ceased to do under Obama; and undermining the repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.
President Obama is backpedaling furiously after his poorly chosen words at a news conference this morning caused a massive backlash:
We've created 4.3 million jobs over the last 27 months; over 800,000 just this year alone. The private sector is doing fine.
Mitt Romney's camp quickly seized on the slipup, calling it the "gift that keeps on giving":
People know what the president said is terribly out of touch. But they also know that his actions have been terribly out of touch. So what he is saying is shocking but it's not anything that people haven't felt. Ours is a reality-based campaign, and this is reality.
Obama attempted to clarify his remarks this afternoon: "It is absolutely clear that the economy is not doing fine. That's why I had a press conference."
Mitt Romney's first commercial of the general election cost upwards of $1 million, and begins airing Tuesday in Ohio, Iowa, Virginia, and North Carolina.
John F. Harris, filling in for Mike Allen on Politico's "Playbook," makes two observations: the spot is positive (it looks like negative ads have been left for now to outside groups like Restore Our Future and Crossroads), and there is a Spanish-language version (acknowledging the effort needed to close the gap among Latino voters).
Is Romney's first day in office everything you imagined?
A Republican Super PAC backed by Cubs co-owner and TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts was secretly collaborating with a top political branding group to smear President Obama and destroy his chance at re-election come September -- but their 48-page playbook, called "Next," was leaked to the New York Times, which published the attack plan today.
The $10 million
strategy character assassination will highlight Obama's association with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who they say preached a "black liberation theology." According to the Times:
The group suggested hiring as a spokesman an "extremely literate conservative African-American" who can argue that Mr. Obama misled the nation by presenting himself as what the proposal calls a "metrosexual, black Abe Lincoln."
Obama's camp has responded accordingly:
The blueprint for a hate-filled, divisive campaign of character assassination speaks for itself. It also reflects how far the party has drifted in four short years since John McCain rejected these very tactics. Once again, Gov. Romney has fallen short of the standard that John McCain set, reacting tepidly in a moment that required moral leadership in standing up to the very extreme wing of his own party.
Romney, predictably, denounced the effort:
I repudiate the effort by that PAC to promote an ad strategy of the nature they've described. I would like to see this campaign focus on the economy, on getting people back to work, on seeing rising incomes and growing prosperity -- particularly for those in the middle class of America. And I think what we've seen so far from the Obama campaign is a campaign of character assassination. I hope that isn't the course of this campaign. So in regards to that PAC, I repudiate what they're thinking about.
Fun fact: The group hopes to snag Jon Voight for the voiceover.
UPDATE: Ricketts has released a statement disavowing the entire proposal:
Joe Ricketts is a registered independent, a fiscal conservative and an outspoken critic of the Obama administration, but he is neither the author nor the funder of the so-called Ricketts Plan to defeat Mr. Obama that the New York Times wrote about this morning. Not only was this plan merely a proposal -- one of several submitted to the Ending Spending Action Fund by third-party vendors -- but it reflects an approach to politics that Mr. Ricketts rejects and it was never a plan to be accepted but only a suggestion for a direction to take.
At a campaign event in Iowa this afternoon, Mitt Romney will debut a new campaign video hitting his opponent where it hurts -- the video is "focused on the unprecedented growth of government, spending and debt under President Obama. This video highlights struggling Iowans. These are the stories behind the statistics. These are a few of the 23 million."
From the video:
"Millions of Americans are struggling under the Obama economy. Here are a few of their stories. … Hope and change has not been kind to millions of Americans, but they still believe in this great country, and deserve a leader who believes in them: Mitt Romney."
In his first two official rallies yesterday, President Obama stopped in Columbus, OH and Richmond, VA to discuss what he hopes to accomplish if he's reelected for a second term, as well as highlighting his accomplishments in revitalizing the American auto industry and ending the war in Iraq. Unlike Romney's comments about "borrowing money from your parents," Obama continued to discuss the realities of a crumbling middle class: "This is a make or break moment for the middle class, and we can't turn back now."
Newt Gingrich finally, officially, has waved the white flag. At a press conference happening now in Arlington, VA, Gingrich announced the suspension of his campaign for the GOP nomination, calling his run "an amazing year" for himself and his wife, Callista.
More to come.